Name: Michael Partington
Degree/university: 2.1. in Geology from the University of Leeds
Year of graduation: 2000
Occupation: Distribution finance analyst for Cadbury Schweppes
What do you do in your job?
At Cadbury’s, the finance teams support each of the company’s functions. Our team is aligned to the distribution function. I specifically support the network manager, who is responsible for both the Cadbury-owned warehouses and the third-party ones. The focus isn’t just on numbers. It’s on an understanding of the numbers, as well as the operational impact of them.
There isn’t a typical day. At the moment, our team is involved with budget-setting for 2007, which is taking up considerable time. Other examples are writing reports around the time of a period-end.
What was your motivation in applying?
I was attracted to Cadbury because of its size, reputation and breadth of opportunities. I also knew that Cadbury employs a good contingent of graduates and people studying towards CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualifications. Management accountancy appealed to me because it was a new challenge.
What did the application process involve?
It’s changed since I went through it, but I applied through a recruitment website. I remember a lot of scenario-based questions on the application form. Then I got called in to do verbal reasoning and numerical tests, and group assessments. After that, I got invited to do a presentation to the financial controllers, and I got offered the job.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The challenge of translating financial information into a language that is easy to understand. With distribution and specifically network management, there is a wide range of people that I have to explain it to. When I go out into a warehouse on to the shop floor and talk to the operatives, for example, I get a kick out of framing it to them in a way they understand. I like the people side of the job, too.
Most challenging part of your job?
Presenting whatever information I have in a manner that is suitable for that particular audience. It’s about tailoring the information and understanding what the requirements are.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
The CIMA qualification is the same regardless of what company you’re working at when you study it, but the way you put it into practice can depend on your employer. So apply for one that suits your needs. Also, try to get breadth of experience. My work – on an IT project, in commercial finance, in central finance and now in distribution – has helped me to put the CIMA courses into context.
"While conventional accountants look backwards, auditing past business, management accountants look forward to assess what the business is capable of in the future," says Robert Jelly, director of education at CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). "It’s an exciting role because you can actually shape the future of organisations."
Once you’ve gained the CIMA professional qualification, typical roles include management accountant, project accountant, investment accountant, group strategist, management consultant, financial manager, corporate finance manager, financial analyst, business analyst and product team manager. Latest figures from Robert Half International show that the average salary is Â£48,100.
"I did the CIMA qualification and I’d take people from CIMA any time," says Andrew Higginson, finance and strategy director for Tesco. "They’re basically business people with a finance orientation, not just accountants."